Smart Girl Stories
Julia Child

Julia Child – French Master Chef

Julia Child was an American chef, author, and television personality. Here are some fun facts about her:

– She was born in Pasadena, California to a wealthy family. Her family sent their children to boarding school, so she attended a prep school in Northern California. She learned about a wide range of things, Latin, French, history, and mathematics. She also was involved in many activities, such as swimming, tennis, and basketball. She was quite popular at school and joined multiple school groups. She was the captain of her school’s basketball team, reaching a height of 6’2, she was the perfect height, and she was the President of the Vagabonds, a hiking club.

– Her parents always intended for her to go to college, after she graduated high school, unlike many parents. Both her mother and grandmother attended Smith College, so she went to school there. She majored in history and also joined a number of clubs there, too, such as the Grass Cops, whose mission was to keep students off the campus lawns. After college she headed back home to California. But returned to Massachusetts, to take a course at the Packard Commercial School, to learn to become a secretary. She dropped out of the course within the first month, because she had already found a job. She worked with that company until 1939.

– In 1942, she moved to Washington D.C. to become a senior typist for the Research Unit of the Office of War Information, during the second World War. Towards the end of that year, she accepted a job with the Secret Intelligence Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was a precursor to the CIA. There, she worked as a research assistant until she became a clerk at the director’s office and took up a few other jobs along the way. She began to work internationally for the OSS, too, for a couple of years. Her first year, she kept files of intelligence in India. Her second year in China.

– After the war, she married Paul Child, whom she worked with in India. Paul worked with the US Foreign Service, so, in 1948, they were stationed in Paris, France. This is when Julia began taking cooking seriously. She enrolled in a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu.

– During this time, she met Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, with whom she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961. This book brought French recipes and methods to American households.

– Julia and Paul returned to the United States in the 1960’s, where they resided in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

-When she moved back, people in the television industry were approaching her to create a cooking show, which became The French Chef, based on her book. It remained on air for a decade with what would become PBS. She won an Emmy and a Peabody award for her work. She ended up publishing a few more cook books and another volume to Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She also went on to create a few more television shows, such as Julia Child & Jacques Pépin Cooking at Home, which earned them a Daytime Emmy Award and Cooking with Master Chefs.

She co-founded the American Institute of Wine and Food in 1981 and created the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and Culinary Arts in 1995. She has been awarded multiple honorary doctorate degrees for her work.

– You can see her kitchen in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I saw it a few years ago. Definitely go check it out, if you are in Washington D.C.

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